I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Archive for the ‘Blog Post (short for weblog)’ Category

McQueen/Marvin/Bronson/Brown film series in New York

Friday, March 30th, 2018

If you’re in New York, the Quad (I say as if I know what that is) is running a great film series from today through April 12th, called “Action Figures: Prime Cuts From McQueen, Marvin, Bronson, and Brown.” I know this because the good people at the Village Voice thought of me to do the write-up on it. I must be doing something right in life, huh?

They’re showing DEATH WISH, THE DIRTY DOZEN, EL CONDOR, EMPEROR OF THE NORTH, THE GETAWAY, THE GREAT ESCAPE, HARD TIMES, HELL IS FOR HEROES, THE KILLERS, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, PRIME CUT, THE PROFESSIONALS, THE SAND PEBBLES, SLAUGHTER and THE STONE KILLER. Almost all of them are on 35mm. I watched a few of the ones I hadn’t seen before as preparation, so I’ll have reviews of those in the next week or two.

Unfortunately DEATH HUNT got cut from the lineup, so I had to lose a paragraph about Bronson getting into a bunch of shit to save a dog as an example of badass juxtaposition. But you can add that one in if you’re playing along at home.

Anyway, here is the Village Voice piece. Thanks!

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Anonymity: The Crackdown (my appearance on the Pink Smoke podcast)

Monday, March 5th, 2018

I spent years trying to be mysterious and ambiguous in an age when everyone was anxious to expose their every pore and playlist online. It was mostly fun and mostly worked well to build an aura around me or something. It was a philosophy, but also a gimmick and a crutch. So I’m glad a few years ago I got an offer I couldn’t turn down that involved appearing in public. It was fun and flattering and inspired me to believe more in what I could accomplish. It changed my mind.

But I’m also conscious that it might be horrible for a long time reader to see or hear me and think “that’s not who I pictured writing all that.” It’s gotta be disorienting. So you don’t have to listen to me on this podcast if you don’t want to. I’m not gonna make you. But it’s there. You have the option.

I will have a review of the new DEATH WISH for you soon, but here you can hear me talk through it with John and Chris on the Pink Smoke podcast a few hours after I saw the movie on Saturday. I think I stepped on the intro and fumbled a few questions but I probly did okay ’cause these two carried me with their great knowledge and insights about the films discussed.

Thank you, Pink Smoke, I had a great time.

LISTEN TO IT HERE (IF YOU CHOOSE)

Oh, by the way, this is HEAVY SPOILERS, we did not hold anything back

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Oscar Preview 2018

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

The Oscars are coming up Sunday. Yes, I know it doesn’t matter who wins, but I enjoy watching the awards and I think they’re a good reflection of the aspirations and values of the people in this business we follow because we love (some of) what they create.

For a few years now I’ve made it a tradition to watch all of the nominated best pictures. This year, mostly by accident, I also saw all of the best actor and best actress nominees, which I don’t think I’ve ever done before. So I wanted to put together links to the ones I reviewed and thoughts on the ones that I didn’t. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Vern’s Favorite Movies of 2017

Thursday, January 4th, 2018

I don’t always do a BEST OF list, but as the rancid corpse of 2017 rots on the side of the street it seems like a good time to remind ourselves that good things still exist. I’m not in a ranking mood (I don’t always feel up to figuring out how to measure, say, THE FLORIDA PROJECT against BOYKA) so I’m gonna do some categories and just go through a bunch of the movies I enjoyed this year in hopes of encouraging other people to check them out or share their love for them or the ones that they were passionate about themselves.

Some of these I didn’t write about, and some of them I am working on reviews of (as marked). Most will of course link to my reviews for more in-depth thoughts. But I think you’ll find some surprises and many things not on other peoples’ lists.

(read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Potpourri 2049

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

Mr. Majestyk suggested a new post that everyone can respond to with their random business while the RECENT COMMENTS sidebar is broken. Good idea, so here it is. Have at it!

Happy New Year, everybody. I’ll have some good new shit for you after the holiday, I promise.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

I’m taking the holiday off but I wanted to say happy Thanksgiving and/or Thursday to everyone. I hope you know I am thankful for every single person who reads, comments, patreons, links, retweets, emails to say “what’s up,” sends generally positive vibes, etc. I love doing this and it means so much to me that anyone takes the time to be here. We’ll get through these dark times together and come out stronger, smarter and somehow better looking? Weird, but it will happen.

I am also extra thankful to Chris for setting up outlawvern.com and maintaining it all these years, and don’t worry, he’s working on that recent comments problem! Something changed in the WordPress comments and he has to track it down. I like when you guys start new conversations on the old reviews, so hopefully we’ll get that working again soon.

Thanks again! Sweet potatoes 4 life.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

R.I.P. Paul Baack

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

Just a brief post in tribute to Paul Baack, a remarkable man that I never met but knew of through my movie reviews here. More than ten years ago I first heard from Paul through his best friend Tom Zielinski, together the creators of a James Bond webzine called Her Majesty’s Secret Servant. They got a kick out of my DIE HARD 2 review where I described John McClane as the American and superior version of James Bond, and they thought it would be funny to have me review some actual 007 movies for them. If I remember right they sent me a DVD of THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH and a Blockbuster gift card to rent something better? They definitely sent me a large HMSS mug, because I use that to this day.

Paul – who was the namesake for a villain in the 1999 Bond continuation novel High Time to Kill – was left quadriplegic after a car hit him in 2003. He designed HMSS using voice-activated software, which amazes me. Occasionally over the years I would hear from Tom and Paul about a particular review, or thoughts on the latest Bond, and it always meant alot to me.

So here’s to Paul. I wish I could’ve met him and that he could’ve heard one of the times I sang “Thunderball” at karaoke. But at least I got to write him this review of THUNDERBALL and GOLDENEYE, which was a fun time for me.

My thoughts today are with Tom and the rest of Paul’s friends and family.

Here is a nice obituary from one of the regular HMSS contributors.

And from his family: http://www.countrysidefuneralhomes.com/obituary/paul-baack

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Ode to George Romero, Tobe Hooper and the Masters of Horror

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

After two years I was finally starting to get used to a post-Wes Craven world – now all the sudden we Fangorians find ourselves heading into Fall minus George Romero and Tobe Hooper, two of the largest shadows in horror. Like Craven, both of them made an iconic horror classic early on, and remained primarily in the genre for their whole careers, delivering many other gems across multiple decades. Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD and Hooper’s THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE are two of my most obsessed upon horror films, the two that seem to take turns being my All Time Favorite on any particular day. Just as important, Romero and Hooper each maintained a distinct voice that made their weaker movies still interesting when taken in context with the larger body of work.

When I think of Romero I think of independence. He and his Pittsburgh based commercial company Latent Image made NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD to break into features, a recipe they may have gotten from Herk Harvey’s CARNIVAL OF SOULS. For them it worked, but instead of moving to Hollywood, Romero built his empire in Pennsylvania and filmed almost all of his movies there. That includes his first studio movies, MONKEY SHINES and THE DARK HALF, both of which I think are underrated. Since he later moved to Toronto, his last three films, LAND OF THE DEAD, DIARY OF THE DEAD and SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD, are filmed around there. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Please bear with me

Monday, September 18th, 2017

Hey friends,

As I mentioned in one of the comment threads somewhere, an enormous rent increase has forced me to move suddenly. I wish I was a monk who could just sweep up and glide over to the new place, but the truth is I have endless waves of books, CDs, movies, magazines, papers and random crap to sort and pack and move or figure out how to part with. It has consumed all my time and energy and soul. I hope to have something ready to post soon, but I’m not sure I will. I’m sorry to say these next two weeks or so I will have to be on semi-hiatus.

So thank you for your patience. I look forward to things being back to normal (or better).

P.S. I haven’t even seen MOTHER! yet, can you believe that shit

Me carrying my things to the new apartment. (Except I feel like a stepped-on marionette just from carrying boxes.)
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Death Wish remake trailer

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

There are a million reasons why Eli Roth’s DEATH WISH remake could be horrible. The trailer definitely leaves open the worry that it’s gonna be mainly about a white dude going around murdering black criminals for fun. In an interview I read somewhere, Roth was definitely conscious of that problem and wanted to be sure not to make a movie like that, so we’ll see how he handles it.

I can say that I have a friend who saw a test screening (I’m not sure if he’d want me to name him, so I won’t) and he was surprised to really like it. He assured me that Bruce is very good in it, it’s not one of his sleepwalking roles. So hopefully we’ll agree with him.

Either way, I hope they skip straight to a DEATH WISH 3 remake after this.

my DEATH WISH related reviews:

DEATH WISH
DEATH WISH II
DEATH WISH 3
DEATH WISH 4: THE CRACKDOWN
DEATH WISH V: THE FACE OF DEATH

DEATH SENTENCE

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.